Post by Colin Henderson on Mar 7, 2011 16:44:57 GMT
Well guys, seems we're not alone in having critical views of the LAw Soc's PR efforts (notwithstanding getting the Joanna and the Gurkhas to do a turn at the RCJ).
The Solicitor's Journal has conducted a survey which is also critical:
Sounding off is not enough, survey reveals 4 March 2011
The Law Society is not doing enough to fight government cuts, according to a survey of legal aid lawyers. A poll carried out by solicitor referral service Contact Law on behalf of Solicitors Journal suggests that less than a third of the legal aid sector is content with the Law Society’s campaign.
A publicity drive criticising the cuts has been led by the Law Society since the green paper was unveiled last November. It has also offered an alternative funding proposal to the government in its response to the public consultation, which it believes negates the need for a budget reduction.
Last month saw the Law Society step up its lobbying via the launch of the Sound Off For Justice campaign, which is currently running a petition against the MoJ’s proposed £350m cuts. But a poll of more than 200 legal aid lawyers, carried out in the run up to the consultation’s closure on 14 February, found that that 68 per cent of respondents do not believe the professional body has done enough to oppose the cuts.
A spokeswoman at the Law Society said the Sound Off campaign is only in its early stages, adding: “Our feedback from legal aid firms has actually been very positive.” When asked if the society believes it is possible to force a government U-turn on the green paper proposals, the spokeswoman replied: “The Law Society continues to lobby government over its proposed changes to legal aid. We have highlighted other areas where we believe savings can be made, so that legal aid does not have to be cut. Our Sound off for Justice campaign is gaining momentum and we hope that government will take note of our concerns." The government has yet to respond to any of the Law Society’s criticisms of the green paper, she added."
"The budget won for phase one of the campaign is £250,000, which will run until April. Phase two – the biggest phase – will run from April until the end of May."
Further background reading on how the SoundOffJustice campaign came about - originally published 7th March on PRWeek:
Law Society Appoints Unity To Challenge Changes To Legal Aid
Unity has been appointed by the Law Society to devise an integrated public awareness campaign to challenge the Government's proposed changes to Legal Aid.
Gerry Hopkinson: Unity co-founder
Government proposals involve the removal of whole areas of civil law from eligibility for Legal Aid, for instance medical malpractice, employment, education and family matters.
The agency won the business after a five-way competitive pitch and has been working on developing an overall campaign brand, tagline and website as well as a range of channel ideas across PR, social media and advertising.
The budget won for phase one of the campaign is £250,000, which will run until April. Phase two – the biggest phase – will run from April until the end of May.
Unity co-founder Gerry Hopkinson said: ‘This is a very important campaign and we are honoured to have been chosen to work with the Law Society to get its views across.
‘For more than 800 years this country has protected people’s right to be heard in court and this proposed legislation risks removing an ancient principle for those who can’t afford a lawyer. "Sound Off For Justice" aims to put public pressure on Government by giving them a voice to say "no".’
The campaign will focus on both educating the public about the value of Legal Aid and the impact of the proposed cuts on everyday people, organisations and the country’s reputation and history as a global beacon of justice.
The effect of the proposed legislation will be to risk removing any access to justice for millions of people regardless of the merits of their case. The Law Society believes that savings can be made to the provision of Legal Aid without risking people’s basic rights.
Companies and organisations that Unity has undertaken work for previously:
Absolut Adidas Ben & Jerry's Cancer Research UK Cafédirect Central Office of Information (COI) Direct Line Energy Savings Trust Friends of the Earth Hodder & Stoughton Netmums Oxfam Pearl Lowe Pernod Absinthe Pernod Ricard Pizza Express Random House RBS Save the Children Simply Virgin World Wildlife Fund
but unfortunately there is still nothing new on there!
The only snippet is that apparently the second phase of "Sound off for Justice" will indeed be launched on March 28 - I can't wait to find what all their money is going to buy them (well actually yes I can).
As ever, for all real news on civil legal aid, as it happens, and supplied on a budget of no more than tea bags and jaffa cakes (speaking for myself - I can't actually confirm what jman uses) keep looking in on ilegal.
I am interested to see what the 'next phase' of the Sound off for Justice campaign is - due to kick off on 28th March - some time after the consultation on proposed changes closed....( or maybe I have got muddled?)
Post by Colin Henderson on Mar 28, 2011 14:55:44 GMT
So here's Phase 2:
1 A new web address: soundoffforjustice.org/ (what an absolutely brilliant idea - no automatic redirection and it took me half an hour to trace it after getting server down messages on the old address)
2 A gizmo where you can leave a voicemail "sounding off" (gettit?) about the cuts
3 Several video clips from Saturday including Mike Mansfield (who as a top-earning criminal QC will be untouched by all this, but his piece is quite good to be fair)
4 Some new organisations have given endorsements, including that radical rent-a-mob the Women's Institute. And I'm not going to be cynical on that one. Tories can cheerfully ignore half a million trade unionists, but they can't ignore the WI!